Saturday, 4 July 2015

4th July, a good day to die?

Today is Independence Day. At Hardknott we think that we should observe the anniversary of an important day in world history. For us not least because Scott is helping us brew some truly stunning beer at the moment. I'd really like to take all the credit myself, but that would be most unfair to the very great contribution our American brewer is providing us.

4th July from Hardknott Brewery on Vimeo.

Generally, of course, American Craft Beer is having an increasing impact on the British Beer Scene. We take our influences from things we find over in the USA. We try to make beers similar to beers we have tasted from there, and hopefully we'll bring a bit of America to the UK without having to ship beer over the Atlantic with all the added costs, fossil fuel burning and problems of freshness.

One of the biggest antagonists in the UK beer scene is BrewDog. I bought a share way back when Equity for Punks was in its first incarnation. Folk thought me daft. Well, they have certainly grown out of all proportion since then. We now have Equity for Punks IV. Should you invest? Well, of course I'd prefer you to spend your money on Hardknott beer, or wait until we do something similar. If you have some spare cash, why not? Probably better than putting your money into a Greek bank right now.

Anyway, the guys sent me a little goodie pack including Born to Die, which has a best before date of today. We thought we'd review it alongside a few of our beers.

As an aside, and just to be clear, it is a very good beer, and certainly not in danger of going rank after today1. I expect any spare stock will be sold off at a good price. Go fill your boots.

Which is better, Born to Die or the selection of Hardknott we tried? Well, beauty is in the palate of the beer holder, I expect, but we know which we prefer.


1I expect most readers of this blog know perfectly well that best before dates are only advisory. It is NOT illegal to sell beer that is after its best before date. Indeed, some beer can be better after, Fuller's Vintage, for instance (have a look at my previous blog post about yeast in beer. John Keeling points out in the comments that putting yeast into beer isn't just about bottle conditioning, it does help ageing)

It is indeed the case that many food items have best before dates, it is neither illegal nor dangerous to sell these items after the best before. When something has a use by date, then it is illegal and unsafe to sell or consume such items. Things like meat, fish, some cheeses and dairy products have food poisoning risks where the use by date is important. Beer, crisps, many cheeses, much dried food all have best before dates. Sometimes, as in the case of stilton2, or Fuller's Vintage, better after the best before date.

2I have the tail end of a round of stilton I bought from the wholesaler a while ago which says it's best before 12th June. This is a lie, it is much better now than when it was bought.

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